TRIBUTES have started to pour in for Peter Corfield, the long serving chairman of Ludlow Hospital League of Friends, who died on Thursday.

Mr Corfield was a great champion of health services in Ludlow and led a fight to save the existing community hospital and then to have a new hospital and health village built on the Eco Park.

This was dropped at the eleventh hour after a change of Government spending rules determined that it was no longer viable.

Dr Catherine Beanland, a partner at the Portcullis surgery in Ludlow and Philip Dunne MP, a former health minister, were amongst the first to pay tributes to Mr Corfield.

“It is an honour and a privilege to write this tribute to Peter, a friend, health campaigner, loving father and husband and chair of the Ludlow Hospital League of Friends since 2006,” said Dr Beanland.

“In whatever role we knew him, from whatever vantage point, he stood apart as someone very special.

“Peter was the leader of the campaign for the new hospital and health village on the Eco Park that was approved in May 2012 only to be blocked in July 2013 on the grounds that it was not economically viable. He was awarded an MBE for his efforts in 2014.

“He continued to fight for improved services in Ludlow Hospital and indeed still had time for a meeting about the hospital, a few days before his illness which resulted in his admission to Hereford Hospital. He sadly passed away with his family and loved ones present.

“Peter was born at Brosley in Shropshire as a war baby in November 1940.

“As a 16-year-old he joined the Royal Air Force at RAF Hereford and this led to a military career that saw him serve in the Middle East, Africa and in Germany.

“His work in the UK included helping to set up the museum at RAF Cosford that opened in 1974.

“After leaving the RAF Peter had a business career with the Ever Ready Group and then in advertising with Alan Brady and Marsh followed by Ogilvy and Mather, where he helped to lobby for infrastructure projects in London.

“He retired to Shropshire with his wife Gloria in 1997 and soon became involved in local community activities and charities. During his time as a member of the Friends of Ludlow Hospital he has been involved in helping to raise hundreds of thousands of pounds for equipment including dialysis machines.

“It was an honour and a privilege to have known him. Rest in Peace Peter, a caring and beloved family man, a cherished friend and constant supporter of Ludlow Hospital, will be missed by many, but never will he be forgotten by those who were fortunate enough to have known him.”

Ludlow MP Philip Dunne said that Mr Corfield had continued to work for the hospital despite his own ill health.

“I am truly saddened to hear that Peter had passed away,” said Mr Dunne.

“Peter has been a pillar of strength to all those groups with whom he has become involved since moving to Ludlow, notably the League of Friends of Ludlow Community Hospital, of which he became chairman more than a decade ago.”

“I had worked closely with Peter over the years, and saw him twice in recent months. “On both occasions he was uncomplaining about his own ailments, although these were evident, and utterly committed to trying to work towards the next solution to improve Ludlow Hospital.

“My thoughts are with his wife, Gloria, for whom Peter was a rock and helped her through some difficult times, and with all who knew him. Peter is a real loss to us all, and to the causes to which he was so committed.”

Mr Corfield had been in poor health for the past two years although he had continued as chairman of the League of Friends.

He had been aware of the need to introduce new blood into the group and this had been one of his objectives.

Recently, Mr Corfield, who believed that community hospitals like Ludlow, have a huge role to play in taking pressure off larger hospitals, had suggested it was time to reopen a debate on the need for a new facility like the one that had been planned for the Eco Park.